By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A WARNING was issued yesterday advising Freeport residents to be aware of "aggressive bees" in the area of Wellington Drive and Ponce de Leon.
Police were called to the area around 9am yesterday after a beehive was disturbed by workmen at Sanitation Services.
ASP Terecita Pinder reported no one was harmed, but officers were on the scene to ensure residents were aware of the situation and warned them not to venture outside.
She said professionals were called in to assist in the removal of the beehive.
There have been recent "aggressive" bee attacks occurring in Grand Bahama, particularly in Freeport and East Grand Bahama.
The Bahamas National Trust issued an alert to the public about two weeks ago. BNT officials believe that Africanised bees are responsible for the attacks, and that persons should report any aggressive encounters to the local office in Freeport.
A team from BNT was recently attacked on June 12 while conducting a bird survey in the vicinity of East Grand Bahama. People were stung, and one individual was stung up to 16 times as the team fled the area.
Elsworth Weir, BNT park manager in Freeport, said attacks usually occur when the bee nest or hive is disturbed.
Africanised honey bees are dangerous stinging insects that have been known to chase people for more than a quarter of a mile once they get excited and aggressive. This is why they earned the nickname "killer bee".
The Africanised bee is a hybrid of the western honey bee species, produced originally by cross-breeding of the East African lowland honey bee with various European honey bees.
Mr Weir warned that once a hive is disturbed, the bees emit pheromones that smell like bananas to alert the other bees to attack.
Persons who see an aggressive beehive are advised to leave the area immediately and to report the incident to BNT officials, or the police.
Persons who encounter or see a hive can contact the Grand Bahama Beekeepers Cooperative at 814-7922; the Ministry of Agriculture's Animal Control Unit; Mr Weir at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-5438, or science officer Scott Johnson at email@example.com or 393-1371.